Can We Have Salt Again? The Exit of Michelle Obama
By Cody Pendergrass
As many of you know we will be having a new president take office soon. This has a lot of questions being asked. “What will happen to healthcare?” “What will future immigration be like?” “How will America deal with Isis?” but my biggest concern, now that Michelle Obama is leaving the White House, is will we have salt again in schools?
The First Lady had a lot of good reasons for all the changes to the school lunch schedules. But let’s be honest: it helped nothing. If I can’t get fries with salt on them at school then I’ll just go down the road and get two big macs and a large fry with extra salt. School lunches were already bad, but to take away the only flavoring we had, it was just obscene.
Although it’s a good idea to not promote unhealthy food, almost everything that is offered is completely unhealthy, and the only thing that could help the taste was that little packet of salt. Each day Cheetos, Doritos, Cheeseburgers were all, offered and that’s just some that we know about.
According to The Daily Caller News Foundation, “Recent data has shown the an estimated 30.6 million US students eat school lunches, while only six percent of schools lunch programs meet the nutritional requirements.” A study in 2009 by “The Journal of School Health” found that’s overweight and obese kids have lower IQs, reduced attention spans, and increased clumsiness, and schools do little to help. As shown in these facts, schools tend to make things worse:
A look at one school’s burger found it had 26 ingredients. Among those 26 components, it contained disodium inosinate, a flavor additive that can spike heart rate, and caramel color, which contains sulfites and ammonia. Labdoor Magazine explains “processing carbohydrates with ammonia under high temperatures can produce a toxic byproduct, 4-methylimidazole (4-MeI), that has been linked to convulsions and an increased incidence of cancer in animal testing.”
- The European Union has also banned a number of chemicals in food which are still permitted for consumption in the US. These chemical ingredients were banned for their dangerous effects. For example, azodicarbonamide is banned in the UK, Europe, and Australia. Why? It can cause worsened allergy symptoms and can cause asthma if inhaled.
- Companies spent $150 million marketing foods and beverages in elementary, middle, and high schools, according to stats from 2009.This predatory marketing has been shown to impact the choices children make when selecting food at school.
- The National Education Association points out “fast-food chains test their meat five to ten times more often than the USDA for bacteria and would reject meat that the USDA deems safe for consumption.” Speaking of rejected meat, a ground beef supplier had a salmonella outbreak and retailers recalled the meat. However, the schools were still shipped the ground beef produced at the facility during the time of the outbreak.
- The Better Government Association had to submit a request under the Freedom of Information Act to obtain the nutrition for the Chicago Public School’s chicken patty and other menu items. The chicken sandwich turned out to have dozens of ingredients including MSG, azodicarbonamide, and silicon dioxide (sand), among other things. MSG has been shown to cause allergic reactions, upset stomach, muscle tightness and fatigue.
- The “healthy” scoop of corn on the plate is the only food registered as a pesticide by the EPA. Most GM corn is modified to kill pests and does so by bursting the stomachs of bugs who feed on the corn, called Bt corn. Although humans are built differently than insects, this particular type of corn is likely to affect our bodies as well. The Bt toxin has been found in human blood suggesting that it is disrupting the bacteria in our digestive system and bodies.
- Even seemingly healthier fruits and vegetables served up are cause for concern. Foods that are not organic are sprayed with persistent pesticides, which we pointed out as endocrine disrupters above. New studies also link endocrine disrupters in our environment to at least 5% of autism cases in Europe.One author of the study, professor Philippe Grandjean of Harvard University, calls for pregnant women and children to eat organic fruits and vegetables among other recommendations. This is due to the risks associated with phthalates found in pesticides and plastic containers. Exposure in utero can decrease a child’s IQ by as much as 6 points, which can be the difference between college or no college. Phthalates can also lead to adult obesity and is linked to asthma.
- One study estimates $1.2 billion dollars of food goes to waste at schools in the Unites States each year.
- Food allergies among children are increasing at an alarming rate. According to FoodAllergy.org, they affect 1 in every 13 children. Although many schools have adopted peanut-free policies, allergies are still a real concern. Milk, soy, nuts, eggs, and gluten are common allergens that can be found foods you wouldn’t likely suspect. Children could mistakenly consume something they are allergic to.
- Even the “healthy” vending machines contain pop-tarts, which made our list of 10 processed foods to never feed your kids. Lunch counters still serve up sugary chocolate milk and fried foods. Jamie Oliver discovered that even servings of vegetables at schools are questionable. Ketchup is counted as a vegetable serving despite being loaded up with high fructose corn syrup.
- Excess sugar consumed can also lead to behavioral issues as well as a sugar crash later.Although there are restrictions on fat and calories in school lunches, there are no rules on sugar.
What Michelle Obama tried to do to help the obesity rate, which was nice of her, but there really isn’t a difference after all of the hype, money spent, and salt removed. As a hardworking American, I want to push to gain the privilege to have those little wonderful packets of high sodium goodness back in our schools.
After all, salt is far healthier than the alternative that we’re getting right now.